Clay soil is particularly susceptible to compaction. Compaction will lead to poor drainage and the dreaded clods that gum up tillers and make working clay soil such a pain. One of the best ways to improve drainage and soil is by adding organic matter. THE most important thing you can do before planting anything in your garden is taking a soil sample. Check with your county extension service for a soil test kit, most counties do not charge for the service.
There are several ways to improve your clay soil
.Practices that gardeners may use are:
growing cover crops
adding animal manures
adding compost/ Organic matter permits water and oxygen to enter the soil.
using organic mulches during the growing season.
turning under fallen autumn leaves. Choose
one or more of these practices to build a
better garden soil.
Hints to remember
Dont work clay soil when it is wet.
Mowing wet lawns or working in wet flower and
vegetable beds compacts the soil and spreads fungal diseases.
Established beds will benefit from
yearly top dressing with compost or mulch.
most experts in this area recommend NOT amending
the soil when planting trees. The reason is that the roots must ultimately grow in our native soil, and it’s
better to let them adapt to tit from the beginning. The experts do recommend loosening the soil by digging or tilling an area three to five times the diameter of the root ball, adding any necessary fertilizer or lime, and backfilling with the native soil.
A layer of maulch 3-4” deep will conserve moisture and discourage weeds, and will release nutrients as it
decomposes. Leave a few inches of bare soil around the tree trunk to discourage voles.
Sand is not a good amendment for clay soils. Any mixture less than 70% sand in 30% clay actually packs more densely that straight clay. This makes a readily compactable soil that isn’t fun to garden in. Add a bit of water and make your own bricks.
Gypsum "clay buster" sold in garden centers is useful in alkaline clay soils, but is not effective on our
type of clay. Taken from NCSU information Facts